A few nights ago, I was in the kitchen preparing a Mexican feast--tacos, Spanish rice, and sides of chips and salsa. John had wrangled the children outside to keep them entertained on their bikes while I finished dinner. When they came in, he was carrying a very pale Camille.
"Why does she look so white?" I asked him.
"Christopher dumped her out of the baby carriage and she hit her head on the concrete," he said.
He showed me an ever-growing lump on the side of her head.
I covered my face in horror and grabbed the keys to the van.
"She's got a concussion. We need to take her to the ER."
About an hour later, my 11-month-old was being fed through a large metal cat scan machine. She was wearing a lead jacket and I was holding her down as she screamed.
The results came back normal, praise God, though she does have a terribly bruised head and she woke up in the middle of the night with what I suspect was an awful headache.
The whole event shook both me and John.
I'm not prepared to let one of my children go and while I realize that they're not fully mine to begin with--that they're His, on loan to me--I can't wrap my mind around the emotional suffering involved in loosing a child.
It doesn't seem fair. It doesn't seem right that God would allow some kind of tragedy to take a child out of a parent's arms.
But then I realized that if all we have is the here and now, it absolutely wouldn't be fair.
It would be downright unjust.
But the here and now isn't all we have to look forward to.
Bishop Van Thuan (incarcerated for 13 years in a Vietnam prison) once wrote,
"The person without an eternal goal approaches the hour of death as a time of hopelessness, because it means the loss of pleasure and of friends. Death means the collapse of his or her world, a void of darkness. But for the believer, the end of the Road of Hope is bathed in light."Something much greater than this life awaits us and that something is so full of joy and peace and love that my every breath should be focused on getting there to see Him and getting my kids there, too.
The death of a child is a profound loss for a mother and father, one that many never get over.
Yet the triumph of heaven is our greatest hope and our greatest gain.
*I highly recommend the writings of Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan. I'm spiritually edified every time I read his words.